Rex agrees to pilot terms after ‘arduous’ 4-year negotiations – Australian Aviation

Victor Pody photographed this Rex Saab 340B, VH-ZXQ

Rex pilots who fly their regional routes have agreed on a new industry deal after “arduous” four years of negotiations.

It follows that the Australian Federation of Air Pilots voted in June for a series of work bans and Rex countered that the union had distributed “malicious, misleading and deceptive” material to its members.

The airline’s human resources director, Paula Tran, described the talks as “protracted” but said the final agreement was a “fair and reasonable outcome”.

Overall, 86 percent of the pilots flying their 61 Saab 340 turboprop aircraft to 58 regional destinations voted in favor of the new four-year contract.

“These high approval ratings demonstrate a very healthy culture of trust and collaboration between the company and its employees,” said Tran.

“We would like to thank all of our dedicated employees for doing everything they can during these difficult times, and this support will help us maintain the strong, positive momentum we have achieved over the past few months.”

The agreement now goes to the Fair Work Commission, which is expected to ratify the deal shortly.

Rex had previously said the union’s action to seek work stoppages in June was “incredible”, adding that their offer at the time was “significantly better” than one accepted by the same union on behalf of QantasLink pilots in 2021 became.

“Just last September, the AFAP approved a 2 percent pay increase in 2021 and 2022 for QantasLink pilots,” Rex vice chairman John Sharp said in a statement.

“Rex, on the other hand, has offered its SAAB drivers a 5.1 per cent pay increase from July 1, 2022, plus substantial catch-up payments of a further 8 per cent once the business is profitable again.

“Rex is the only airline that has not laid off any of its pilots and has stood by them through the difficult COVID years.”

The deal between Rex and its pilots comes after airport firefighters last week voted on strikes that could potentially see airlines suspend services.

Members of the aviation branch of the United Firefighters Union voted 93 per cent in favor of work breaks of between two and 12 hours and also upheld a motion of no confidence in Airservices Australia.

UFU is believed to be seeking a 15.5 percent pay rise over three years, as well as a commitment to hire more staff.

Airservices Australia, the government agency responsible for airport rescue and firefighting, is offering an 11.5 percent increase.

“We call on the UFU to return to the negotiating table,” it said.

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